Jonathan Hazen made a name for himself on the Val d’Or Foreurs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
The Quebec City native played in 242 games scoring 106 goals with an overall 227 points. During his four year run he was recognized for his outstanding speed and was signed in March 2011 by the Panthers after going undrafted.
“He [Hazen] is a young player who possesses speed, skill and the ability to score goals” said General Manager Dale Tallon after signing him in 2011.
In the ECHL he faced a learning experience, as expected for a player when he moves up to the pros. Hazen played 48 games recording 12 goals with an overall 31 points during his time as a Cincinnati Cyclone. He also spent time in the AHL as a member of the San Antonio Rampage and played nine games scoring one goal.
The 22-year old did not see a record like his campaign in the QMJHL but his first year at the upper level has not diminished his confidence. He looks at the season as a learning experience and comprehends the adjustment from the junior to major league.
“The guys are quicker [and] bigger. When you have the puck you don’t have a lot of time to do your play,” remarks the Canadian.
In turn, Hazen has set new goals and plans to apply them this summer as he enters his second year as a professional.
“I want to be bigger- that’s what I’ll do this summer… And be more consistent on the ice.”
His plans to increase in size and technical skills seems likely as he has added 17 lbs to his formerly 170 frame since the start of the season. And with strength training and additional exercise he will likely gain more.
Often a larger stature inhibits speed but Hazen does not fear the loss of his signature quality. He notes that he will continue to do speed oriented drills to remain one of the quickest players on the ice.
Luck is on his side because Hazen is practically neighbors with a member of the LA Kings, Simon Gagne. The left winger, who recently won the Stanley Cup this past June, lives a mere 20 minutes from the Panthers prospect and has offered to assist in training with Hazen this summer at the gym they both attend in Quebec City.
With his training this summer and unstoppable drive to improve, this upcoming season Hazen is determined to prove himself.
“I am ready this year. I was ready last year too but now I can see what I am looking for,” says the determined Hazen.